Medieval Times

In three days I will board a plane and wing my way through the friendly skies to sunny California! Yes, I am off to visit my daughter Julie’s family for a week—and I am so excited I can hardly wait! I am crossing things off my lists as I prepare to go—make and freeze food for Bob and Robbie while I am gone; make sure all the bills are paid and prescriptions picked up; clean house; pack suitcases; print boarding passes… I am sure Julie, son-in-law David, and their six children are just as busy on the other end getting ready for Grandma’s visit.

Speaking of my son-in-law, I have to brag on him for a moment. Julie called the other day and said David had noticed that I would only be there five full days after taking away the traveling days on either end of my trip. “That’s not long enough! Call your mom,” he told Julie, “and tell her if she wants to stay a few more days, I’ll pay for the change in her ticket.” Now, I ask you, how many men do you know who can’t get enough of their mothers-in-law and want them to stick around any longer than necessary? Bless his heart! It was a sweet offer, but I could not see him paying $200 for just a couple days more of my presence—plus, Bob needs me to come home and take care of Robbie so he can get back to work. So I will go and be thankful for the (short) time I have with them and enjoy every minute of it!

It is always non-stop fun when I visit David and Julie and their six children. Five of the six are BIG kids now—James is 18, Benjamin and Anastasia are 17, Joshua is 15 and Hannah is almost 12—but just as grown up in many ways as her older siblings. Only Josiah is little still. He is not quite one year old. The last time I was out there he was a newborn and they were just bringing him home from the hospital. I can’t wait to see the changes in that little rascal! I am sure he will keep us entertained! Julie says he is a wild child on wheels. He gets going in his walker, leans forward and lifts his feet in the air as he zooms around the kitchen. I can’t wait to see that!

The Big Five make their own fun, too. They love to play games, and if a game is one-on-one, such as ping pong or Connect Four or Battleships, they hold tournaments. They all play musical instruments and several of them enjoy different crafts. They’re all very active and love to hike, swim, fish, do archery and target shooting, ride bikes and skate… Julie and David jump right in and do many of those activities with them.

Grandma slows them down a bit when I come, but we will spend hours every day I am there playing games, or they will put on a concert for me, and we will cook or bake together or do crafts.   They even taught me to shoot a bb-gun the last time I was there and I am looking forward to that again! One of our favorite activities together is to go to the beach—not to swim (there are sharks in that area and swimming is prohibited)—but just to explore the shore and enjoy God’s creation.

Julie and I have something special planned this time. Last year when I was there, we surprised the kids with “Hobbit Day.” When they woke up they discovered we had designated each room in the house a part of Middle-Earth and had fun activities and games geared to that theme planned to last throughout the day. They each took a name from one of the characters in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and we ate “hobbit food” at every meal. Another time, later that year, she and David did something similar with “Star Wars Day.” We decided to surprise them this time with “Medieval Day.”


I’ve already packed the two knight costumes I bought several years ago for a Medieval Banquet we had at our church, along with their swords, shields and battleaxes. (If my suitcase gets x-rayed at the airport, will plastic swords show up? I really don’t want my suitcase opened by security!) I also have a jester hat and plans to make the girls’ headpieces with Julie. I am taking my costume from the banquet, too, and hope to get a couple crowns and capes for David and Julie (the king and queen.)

We will start the day off with a Royal Proclamation (Hear ye, hear ye!) telling the kids that it is Medieval Day. Everyone will choose their costumes and titles (ie. Sir Benjamin or Princess Hannah). We have a tournament planned with a catapult, pool noodle jousting, archery, toothpick and balloon fencing, stone-throwing (at targets, not each other) and tug o’ war.   We will hold a juggling contest and a jester contest (who can make the others laugh the fastest), and maybe to top off the day, a movie like “How to Train Your Dragon´ or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”

chessmanJulie and I have planned a menu including “dragon” eggs, cheeses and homemade bread for breakfast; vegetable barley soup, fruit and hard rolls for lunch; grilled drumsticks and meat and veggie skewers for supper, and Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies for a snack. No eating utensils allowed, since they didn’t use them in the Middle Ages, and we will eat off of gold (paper) platters. I found a cute “Dragon Taco Dip” the other day that I would like to make for the evening when we watch our movie, and maybe we will dragontdcombine that with “Knights of the Round Table” Pizza. Instead of ale, beer or wine, we will have ginger ale, root beer and grape pop. Hey, it may not be very authentic, but it will be fun!

And who really wants to go back to living the way they lived back in medieval times anyway? I cannot even imagine how difficult those days must have been. It’s fine to pretend for a day or a few hours a romanticized version of what it might have been like, but daily life back then was horribly hard and life expectancies were very short. We have some idea of what it might have been like back then, but people living in medieval times, in their wildest dreams, could never have begun to imagine how people of the twenty-first century would live! People speeding down the road, or even crazier, flying through the air, hundreds or even thousands of miles in one day?! Talking to someone on the other side of the world, even seeing and talking to them instantaneously?! Modern medicine that more than doubled the life span of man. Cooking a meal in a microwave. Buying clothes off the rack, groceries from a supermarket, anything our hearts desire.

Yes, times have certainly changed—but people have not. From the beginning of time, the Garden of Eden, people have loved, hated, laughed, cried, raised families, worked hard, had happy days and borne sorrows, struggled with relationships and struggled to survive. In Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 9-10 we read,

Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?

That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.

The way we live our lives is certainly different than in ancient times, but there truly is nothing new under the sun when it comes to human nature, emotion and spirit. As Adam and Eve sinned, so we still sin today. As they were created with a nature meant to worship their Creator, so are we all born with a need to worship Him. And from the moment they sinned, Adam and Eve needed a Savior—as has every single person born since then.

The Lord God has not changed from ancient times, either. The Psalmist said, I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.  I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, (Psalm 77:5, 11-15) The Bible tells us in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

From ancient times all the way until the end of time He will never change. He says in Isaiah 46:9-10,  Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’“

He is the eternal God. He pre-dates ancient times and will exist when all time ends. Psalm 90:1, 2 says, Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” The relationship He forms with all those who trust Him for salvation will endure eternally, as well. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,  To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.” (Psalm 103:17, 18)

The medieval age has passed. The years and decades, centuries and millenniums have marched on through the passage of time. Kings and kingdoms of history have come and gone. Only one King reigns eternal! “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (I Timothy 1:17)

king eternal

From Bad to Worse to Bad–to Praise the Lord Anyway!

Thursday was a rough day. Robbie went into a small hospital as an outpatient to have his feeding tube replaced. He is no longer fed through the tube since he is eating regular food now, but we still give him all his medications and extra fluids through the tube, and it is there sort of as a safety net in case we go through another crisis with him again. The g-tube he had was beginning to deteriorate, so last week his doctor decided it was time to replace it and lined up a time and place for the procedure.

All was well until the anesthesiologist came in. He and all the nurses were as nice as could be, but for some reason the anesthesiologist seemed rather timid—perhaps even scared?—of putting the IV in for the anesthesia. He hemmed and hawed around for several minutes and finally tried to get the needle in Robbie’s hand. He missed but continued to poke around, trying to place the needle in the right spot. He finally decided it wasn’t going to work, but rather than removing it, he held it there for several minutes while he waited for a nurse to bring him something.

In the meantime, Robbie was getting agitated and more and more apprehensive. The anesthesiologist apologized and said he would have to try again. By that time there were seven people gathered around the bed—five nurses, Bob and the anesthesiologist.   He stuck Robbie again in the same hand—and again dug around with the needle trying to get it in correctly. Robbie was frightened by then and the other six people tried to hold him still.   The anesthesiologist gave up finally. “We’ll give him an injection in the arm of a sedative called katamine to relax him,” he decided. “It will only take a couple minutes before Robbie will doze off a little and we should be able to get the IV in the other hand.”

Two or three minutes went by, but rather than sedating Robbie, the katamine had the opposite effect. His body began contorting horribly and he began screaming. We have never heard Robbie scream like that in a panic and almost delirium. He was wild and thrashing about and Bob was doing all he could to hold him and comfort him. Now, we have seen Robbie have many, many very awful grand mal seizures throughout his life, but this was worse than anything we had ever seen.

I fled the room, crying and praying. A nurse came out to the waiting room nine or ten minutes later. When I asked if he was any better, she shook her head no. “How long will the katamine affect him? Will it wear off soon?” She replied that it would, so I continued to pray—and yes, cry some more.

Finally, I could wait no longer. I went back to the room. All was quiet and most of the people had cleared out. Robbie was lying on the bed, playing with his Winnie the Pooh pillow—and acting a little drunk! Bob was still standing next to our boy. When I asked what had happened, he said that the anesthesiologist had tried a third time to get the IV in the other hand, and when that failed, Bob told them they either had to give Robbie gas to put him to sleep or find someone else to put in the IV. A nurse came and put it in his foot with no problem.

We breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanksgiving. We were trying not to blame the anesthesiologist for his three botched attempts at placing an IV (although, really? He’s a doctor and that is supposed to be his specialty.) And no one could have foreseen the adverse reaction Robbie would have to the katamine. They came in a few minutes later and whisked Robbie off to have his procedure done. The worst was over.

Well, yes—that was the worst of it, but we weren’t quite through with the bad. It seemed like no time at all that they were coming out to tell me that it was over and Robbie was in the recovery room and I could go back there with him. (Bob had left to run home for a paper the hospital needed.) The doctor came in a few minutes later to tell me all went well, Robbie did fine, and oh, yes—they had to put in a saline balloon tube instead of the g-tube he has had for the last nine or ten years.

“A balloon?” I repeated. “But you know that will only last three months or so and then we’ll be right back here again having to replace it!” The stomach acids eat through the balloon holding the tube in place and when it bursts, the tube falls out and has to be replaced immediately.

“Yes, I know,” he said, “but that’s all they had here. So long!” He quickly left.

I was not happy, but when Bob got back and discovered they had used the wrong g-tube he was really, really upset! Bob is very protective of Robbie, and he had just been through an awful experience with him. To think that we would have to put him through this all over again in just a few months was dismaying. At that point there was nothing we could do about it, so we gathered up our son and things and left the hospital.

Robbie had not quite forgiven us for the trauma he had been through earlier, but a stop at McDonald’s for a very late lunch quickly made his world right again. When we got home I prepared his seizure medicine to put through the new tube—and discovered the port was not quite big enough to insert the syringe enough! Aargh! Somehow I managed to get the medicine in without spilling it all over.

“I’ll put an adapter valve on it before his next medicines,” Bob promised. He and Robbie lay down to take a long, well-deserved nap.

The first thing Bob did when he got up from his nap was get the adapter valve and scissors to cut off the plug that was on the end of the new tube. He had done this many times before, so did not think twice about it. The next thing I heard was, “What?! Oh, no!”

“What happened?” I asked in alarm.

“When I cut off the plug, the saline filling the balloon inside leaked out! The tube is falling out. We’re going to have to go back the hospital and get a new tube!”

My heart sunk. By that time it was 8:00 PM. It had been a hard day. We would have to go to the ER, which meant hours of waiting—not to mention putting Robbie through even more. We quickly taped the tube to Robbie’s abdomen to keep it in place, got dressed and headed to the hospital—our regular hospital this time, not the little podunk hospital where the procedure had been done that afternoon. We didn’t even know if they had an ER, and after our experience there earlier, we weren’t willing to find out.

Our time in the ER at Community Hospital went much better. Robbie was relaxed and unafraid. No one was poking him or trying to hold him down. The ER doctor was very knowledgeable and understood exactly what had happened and why. Eventually, after several hours of back and forth between doctors and hunting down the correct materials, he was able to place a new g-tube for Robbie quickly and easily while Robbie lay back with his hands behind his head. Unfortunately they had to use another saline balloon-type tube since it was after hours and anything else was locked up and no specialist was around to do it even if they could have found the correct tube. The ER doc was experienced and comfortable with placing the balloon tube, though, as a temporary measure to get us by until his regular doctor could do the other kind.

We got home a little bit after midnight. As we talked over the day’s events, I tried to soothe my husband’s aggravation with the problems we had encountered. I have rarely seen Bob so upset over something, but the fact that most of what had happened could have been avoided with a little extra care by the professionals really irked him. “Bob, what we went through today, except for Robbie’s reaction to that sedative, is so minor compared to what we have been through in the past. And what we went through is very, very minor to what millions of people go through every day! Let’s just let it go and praise the Lord!”

Praise the Lord anyway! Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” It is easy to praise the Lord on a beautiful day, when all is well, and we and all our loved ones are healthy, safe, comfortable, and have all that we need. It is when our circumstances darken, when things don’t go as we had planned, or when we are afraid that it is more difficult to see the praise in every situation.

But praise the Lord anyway! Praise Him for who He is! Psalm 104:1-3 says, ”Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind…” Go on and read the rest of Psalm 104 to see a picture of the awesomeness and majesty of our God! And that does not even begin to describe the character of our good, loving, faithful Father.

Praise Him for what He does! We praise Him for who He is and what He does—in our lives and in the world. Psalm 9:1-2, 11 tells us, I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.” What he has done, what He is still doing today, and what He has promised to do in the future—how could we ever begin to count His blessings upon our lives? “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:5)praise1

Praise is a matter of Trust. Because we have seen who He is and what He does, we can know beyond a shadow of doubt that our God can be trusted, not only for the here and now, but for whatever lies ahead. Habakkuk 3:17-18 reminds us, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” We may not see what He is doing in our darkest times as we walk through trouble and trials, but we can trust Him, knowing that He is working for our good—and when we are trusting Him, it is easy to praise Him. The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.” (Psalm 28:7)

Praise is a Testimony. How can we not share all the wonderful things God is doing? The easiest form of witnessing is just sharing with others what the Lord has done for you. Psalm 40:3 says, “He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Praise is a testimony and a teaching tool, as well. Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” When our children and grandchildren and all those around us hear us praising the Lord it will touch their lives and their hearts, hopefully drawing them to the Savior and a closer walk with Him.

Praise is a matter of Thanksgiving. Praise is rejoicing in all that God has done and who He is. He fills us with joy as we see Him working in our lives. We ought then to turn that joy around into an attitude of gratitude and giving thanks and glory to God. Psalm 100:4 tells us to, Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand. “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God.” (Psalm 147:7) “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:2)

Praise is Therapeutic. Praise not only blesses God’s heart—but it blesses our own, as well! How can we go through life disheartened and depressed when we are concentrating on praising God? Psalm 147:1 says, “For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” I would far rather see life through the lenses of praise than discouragement, wouldn’t you?

Praise Him all the Time—all day, every day and forevermore! Praise should be on our lips—or at least in our hearts—from the moment we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night. From the rising of the sun to its going down The Lord’s name is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3) The Lord wants our praise continually throughout our lives. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33) Our praise will not end then, when we breathe our last breath! We will be praising Him for all eternally! “But we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 115:18)

Our life’s journey is never easy. We all bear burdens of one kind or another; we all go through the deep waters of testing, and sometimes through fiery trials. Let us, though, go on that journey with a song in our hearts of joy and peace, trust and thanksgiving—and praise the Lord anyway!

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised.

Psalm 96:1-4


Rolling It Forward

Sometimes  things happen in our lives that we know are simply God-ordained. We can be in a certain everyday place at just the right moment and our paths cross those of a stranger and we just know the Lord meant it to be. We had an experience like that this week.

Robbie had a doctor appointment the other day. He knows that after we see the doctor, Mommy and Daddy will take him to McDonald’s for a treat. Lucky Robbie—he actually had two appointments this week, so on Wednesday we went to MD’s for ice cream cones, and on Thursday we were back for cheeseburgers! You should see him, from the time we leave the doctor’s office, swiveling that head from side to side looking for those Golden Arches!

Anyway, we were leaving the restaurant and as we walked out the door, I said to Bob, “I think I’ll get on the internet this afternoon and see if I can find a new wheelchair for Robbie.” His chair was beginning to feel a little rickety and one of the brakes was not working right. We actually had bought a new wheelchair for him a few months ago, but it was too wide and his feet kept falling off the foot rests. We had only used it one time, but did not feel that we could return it after using it for several hours. Robbie had the money in his account to try again (the transport chair we wanted was only about $160) so it was time to begin the search anew. I just figured someday someone in the family would need the bigger chair and we would hang on to it until then.

A minute or two later we were standing in the parking lot, about to take Robbie out of his chair and load him into the car, when an old couple walked slowly past us. The man was blind and shook with Parkinson’s; his steps were slow and faltering. His elderly wife helped him as best she could. We could see they were not well off. Their car was a bit of a clunker and they were dressed poorly.

To our surprise, as they started to pass, they stopped. “Would you mind if we looked at your wheelchair?” the woman asked. “We need to get a wheelchair for John.”

We discussed with them for a few minutes the details of the chair—how it folded and to what dimensions, how heavy it was to lift in and out of a car, and so on. “Where did you get it?” Ellen, the wife, asked.

I started to answer and then Bob interrupted. “You know, we have another brand new chair, only used once, just like this one at home—just a little wider. It’s too big for Robbie, but I think it would fit your husband perfectly! If you want it, we’ll give it to you!”

“What?! Oh, no—I can pay you for it,” Ellen protested.

“No,” Bob insisted. “The Lord has blessed us so much—we want to pass the blessing on to you. He’s blessed us especially with Robbie, and He keeps on blessing us with all that we need. Please let us give the wheelchair to you.

“I can’t believe you would do that for me,” the old man quavered.

“It’s no coincidence we met here at this exact place, at this exact time,” Bob responded. “God knew that you had a need and that we could fill that need for you so he brought us together.” We could see that John and Ellen were overwhelmed. Bob invited them to follow us home to check out the new wheelchair.

Bob ran into the house when we got there and brought out the chair. John slowly got out of their car and we helped him into the chair. It was a perfect fit. Bob adjusted the foot rests to the correct length and then showed Ellen the different features and how they worked. The whole time John kept repeating, “I just can’t believe you would do this for me!”

“Let us pay you for it,” Ellen tried again.

When we refused, citing again God’s blessings upon our lives, John said, “Well can we at least make a donation in your honor to some charity?”

“You can make a donation if you want,” Bob smiled, “to whomever you want!”

“Well, I’ll make it to a veterans’ organization then,” John said. “I’m a vet.”

“That’s fine,” Bob replied. “And thank you for your service to our country!” Bob has a soft spot for our nation’s veterans and often gives to them himself, so I knew he was pleased. He helped John back into the car and then loaded the wheelchair in with them, and they went on their way.

Bob said several times that afternoon how very happy he was that we had been able to pass that wheelchair along to John and Ellen. We hoped most of all that they would remember our brief testimony as to God’s working in our lives and that He fulfills our needs and so much more. We prayed that somehow it would have a spiritual impact on them and be used to draw them to the Savior.

Psalm 103 has always been a favorite passage of mine. When I need a reminder of how truly blessed I am, I have only to read these verses to begin to count those blessings, one by one! See how many you can count—

1Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever, 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.

Psalm 103 tells us not to forget these blessings of God! Verse 3 reminds that we have forgiveness of sin and healing through Him. In verse 4 we see that the Lord blesses us with deliverance and protection. He provides for us and gives us strength (verse 5). Verse 6 tells us that God will dispense justice and care for the weak and oppressed. The Lord made His presence known to Moses and the Israelites, and he does the same for us as we see how He works in our lives (verse 7). In verses 8-10 we see His grace and mercy toward us when we don’t deserve His forgiveness at all. And throughout this passage we see God’s compassion and everlasting lovingkindness to us (verses 4, 8, 11-18).

We could go on and on, I am sure, counting the physical blessings we have in this world, as well—family friends, country, home, health, church, job, car, food, clothing… You get the picture. We are abundantly blessed! And then there is the peace, joy, hope, love, faith and spiritual gifts with which He fills our lives when we walk with Him. And just the fact that we have a personal, real relationship with the Creator and Ruler of all; that we can come to Him in prayer and hear from Him through His Word; that His Spirit indwells us and guides us; that He has a plan for my life and a place for me after this life in eternal glory; that we can know the righteousness, faithfulness, power and goodness of God for ourselves—all these things are blessings showered upon us by a loving

The phrase “pay it forward” has been around for almost a hundred years. The concept of paying it forward is that the beneficiary of a good deed repays it by doing a good deed for someone else instead of repaying the original benefactor. How much more should we as Christians, who have been blessed so abundantly, desire to pass on the blessings to others? We may not have much financially or of material things to give, but we can do small kindnesses every day to brighten someone’s day. Most of all, along with that good deed, we should be willing to share what God has done for us.

And by the way—I did find a good deal for a new wheelchair for Robbie and ordered it that afternoon. It should be here by the end of the month and we’ll have that boy rolling again—rolling it forward!


Bonnie and Connie — Double the Blessings, Double the Fun!

My mother and her twin sister will turn 85 years old on Saturday! We will celebrate BIG next weekend at Spring Mill State Park and Inn with them and as many of my siblings and cousins, and their children and grandchildren who can come—around forty of us this year.

Spring Mill is a delightfully picturesque place in southern Indiana. Just driving through the lush, green forested park makes me feel happy and at peace. The Inn itself is old and rustic, lovely and relaxing, and has been the scene of many of our large clan’s family reunions. The twins’ birthday luncheon will be held on Sunday in the beautiful Lakeview Room. We will share in good food and birthday cake, fun games, lots of laughter and sweet memories.

Most of all, though, there will be a spirit of thanksgiving permeating the room as we honor our beautiful mothers. Heartfelt thankfulness to God that we still have both of them with us and that they are able to travel to this special event in their honor. Deepest gratitude for all that they have done for us and been to us through the many years we have been together. True appreciation for the godly examples they have been to their children and grandchildren and for the spiritual heritage they have left for us.

We first did this big Spring Mill celebration of their birthdays five years ago for their 80th. This morning I re-read the account I wrote of that event back then. I’d like to share it with you today because I do not think I could give you a better picture of my mom and Aunt Bonnie if I tried, or what our gala will look like next week. So here, from the archives dated September 12, 2010, is “Great Ladies in Their Eighties.”


It was a weekend to remember! In my mother’s words, no other weekend could ever surpass it. My aunt (my mother’s twin sister) told me it was her best birthday ever. “Bonnie and Connie’s 80th Birthday Party” at Spring Mill State Park in Indiana was a huge success, especially for the Birthday Girls. Almost all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were there to celebrate with them—over fifty of us altogether. We were happy for our mothers, and excited about spending the weekend with our siblings and cousins and their families.

It is a wonderful thing to see twin sisters make it to their eightieth birthday together. We’ve always enjoyed seeing them together (and yes, indeed, they fooled us sometimes as to who was who), but now they’re just downright cute as a pair! All weekend long we remarked at the likenesses and funny little traits they shared.

Sunday was their birthday and we had a special luncheon to honor them. The Lakeview Room looked out boncon80bon a forest, rather than a lake, but it was pretty with its tables decked in pastels, a fully loaded gift table, and the cake with their pictures at age sixteen as the centerpiece. The food from the Inn’s special Sunday buffet was delicious and plentiful. The company was relaxed, and the fellowship was sweet, and both our Birthday Girls were beaming!

We could not let this special day go by without some spontaneous tributes given by their children, grandchildren and children-in-law. My brother called them the “grand matriarchs of the clan.” Their reputation as pranksters was mentioned. Their love, encouragement, help and generosity were appreciated. They were lauded as wonderful mothers, best friends, special grandmas, and over and over—the best mothers-in-law there ever were! I think what struck me most, however, about these heartfelt, sometimes-teary and sometimes-comical sentiments was how many times Mom and Aunt Bon were referred to as women of faith and prayer. The spiritual heritage they have laid down and their prayerful support of their children and grandchildren had made an impact in all our lives, and helped to make us the people we have become—for now and all eternity. They have been found faithful in the calling God has given them as wives and mothers, and we are all eternally grateful and love them deeply. Proverbs 31:28-31 fits them perfectly: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:28-31)

It is hard to see our parents growing older. We see them slowing down, suffering from more and more physical ailments, sometimes even suffering mental disabilities. And always looming overhead is the knowledge that we may not have many more years left with them. For those who know Jesus Christ as our Savior, we know that the Separator called Death is but for a short time and then we will be reunited in Heaven some day, but still it is a grievous day when we have to say goodbye. We treasure the days we have left with our mothers and pray for many more years of good health to come.

The Bible tells us to honor our parents and those elderly people around us. Leviticus 19:32 says, “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Ephesians 6:2-3 reminds us of one of the Ten Commandments: “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou may live long on the earth.” Proverbs 23:22 tells us to “Hearken unto thy father that begot thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

Although it may not feel like it sometimes, old age is something to be proud of, and a blessing from the Lord. Many times the Scriptures speak of old age as “a good old age.” And although I have sworn to cover my gray hairs until the day I die (!) gray hair is a badge of honor! Proverbs 16:31 says, “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” and Proverbs 20:29 adds, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” I still have my gray hair, of course, hidden somewhere—I just refuse to look older than my husband!

* With old age come many blessings. Mom and Aunt Bon would tell you (and I agree!) the greatest of these are our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You just can’t comprehend how wonderful it is to be a grandma until you become one yourself! Someone has said that “being a grandmother is your reward for having been a mother.” Someone else has said, “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.” Whether or not we’ve earned them, the Bible says in Proverbs 17:6, “Children’s children are the crown of old men [and old women!]”

Hopefully, with old age comes wisdom. Job 12:12 tells us “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.” and Job 32:7 adds “…days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.” Old age also comes with promises. Isaiah 46:4 tells us that God does not forget us in our old age, but will carry us through: “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” He is faithful in providing. “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalms 37:25)

God also tells us that He does not set us on a shelf in our old age but that there is still work for Him that we can do. Psalms 92:14 says, “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age …” The elderly are to be examples of holy living and teachers. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.” (Titus 2:2, 3) Prayer and intercession are vital ministries the aged can have. 1 Timothy 5:5 says “Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.” The elderly are also a testimony to the generations that follow. Psalms 71:18 tells us, “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” Eunice and Lois are examples of the impact we can have on our children and grandchildren. “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

It is God who determines the length of our lives. Job 12:10 says, “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Oftentimes he blesses the righteous and those who are obedient to Him with long life. He said of David in Psalms 91:14, 16, “Because he hath set his love upon me … because he hath known my name…. With long life will I satisfy him…” 1 Kings 3:14 also says, “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments … I will lengthen thy days.” Proverbs 3:1, 2 tells us to “… keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” and adds in Proverbs 9:10, 11, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.”

Psalm 92:12-14 gives us a picture of the beauty of old age in those who love the Lord. It says, “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He [or she] shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” I see beauty in my mother and Aunt Bon, and I know the Lord does, too. What a testimony they are to lives lived for Him and for their families! Many years ago I sent a poem to my grandmother—their mother. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating for it describes my mother and my dear aunt Bonnie—lovely in growing old. I hope I will follow in their footsteps.

Let me grow lovely, growing old—

So many fine things do:

Laces, and ivory, and gold,

And silks need not be new;

And there is healing in old trees,

Old streets a glamour hold;

Why may not I, as well as these,

Grow lovely, growing old?


The last five years have held serious health problems for both my mother and Aunt Bon, but they are both still sharp as can be and able to live on their own. We cherish the times we have with them, the laughs we share, and the memories we are making. May God continue to bless them in the years they have left here, as He has throughout their long lives—and as He has blessed us in just having them in our lives!

There will be no Sundays with Cindy next week. I’ll be at Spring Mill partying with a couple of great ladies in their eighties!


Aren’t They Just GRAND?

I am the grandmother of thirteen beautiful grandchildren. Beautiful, sweet, smart, talented, amazing, loving, Jesus-following, precious kids—and I’m not just bragging! (HA!) Truly, I am blessed beyond measure to be their grandma, and although I have been forced to do my grandmothering from afar (they all live thousands of miles away), we still are very close in heart. There are eight granddaughters (Sara, Gabriela, Anastasia, Melissa, Katie, Hannah, Mandy and Vanessa) and five grandsons (James, Benjamin, Joshua, Matthew and Josiah) ranging in ages from 21 years to 10 months old.

As a family we are a bit unusual—you could say we’re almost a United Nations. My daughter Laura married a man from Ecuador, so their children are half Ecuadoran. Julie married a man who was born in El Salvador and is half El Salvadoran, so their children have Latin blood, as well. Their other three children are adopted—two from the Ukraine, and one who is biracial. The Lord brought us all together in His wonderful plan and we just couldn’t love them all any more than we do! How blessed we are!

Today I want to celebrate two of my granddaughters—Anastasia and Melissa. Their birthdays are five days apart. Anastasia turned seventeen on Wednesday, and Melissa will be fifteen tomorrow. They are turning into beautiful young women, alike in some ways, and very different in others.

This is only the fourth birthday Anastasia has celebrated with us. She made her entrance into our family at the age of thirteen when David and Julie adopted her from an orphanage in Ukraine. Anastasia had been Anastasiathrough many hard, sad things in her life, but since the adoption she has truly blossomed! She gained a new name, a new family, new home and country—and she became a new creation in Christ when she gave her heart to Jesus a few months after she became our granddaughter. There was so much for Anastasia to learn and she has done well in learning English and adapting to her new American life. Other things have been more difficult, but she has a sweet, willing spirit and tries hard to please. Anastasia has a tender heart and is quick to express her love for others and the Lord. She loves to sew and bake, draw and read, and is quick to help with the baby or around the house. She volunteered to clean the church nursery every week—often when the other girls her age are off having fun together. She is friendly and kind and loves to talk! I treasure the little love notes she has given me. It is so awesome that the Lord plucked our sweet Anastasia from a country thousands of miles away and gave her as a gift to our family!

melissa2015And then there is our beautiful Melissa! She, too, was born on another continent where her parents are missionaries in Ecuador. This year is her quinceañera—her fifteenth birthday, a special “coming of age” birthday in the Spanish culture. It is hard to believe our sweet, shy, quiet little Melissa has become a self-assured, mature young woman already! Melissa loves the Lord and has a true servant’s heart. She is often her mama’s right hand. She helps out with the younger children and is a second little mama to them. She is quite talented in directing and producing little plays and videos and photo shoots with her younger siblings. Melissa enjoys baking and cooking and will often whip up a snack or bake a banana bread or cake for the family. I can totally see her someday being an amazing wife and mother in her own home. Melissa loves the beach and is quite the surfer girl! She is Melissa Surfgenerous and giving, sometimes to a fault, and is easy-going and loves to laugh. Melissa loves to talk to her grandma on the phone, too, and share things with me on Facebook and Pinterest. I feel sorry that she has a broken leg and is on crutches this year for her quinceañera—but maybe next year she can celebrate her Sweet Sixteen American style!

What a privilege it is to be the grandmother to these two lovely girls—and to all my grandchildren! To be a grandparent is one of life’s greatest joys—but it is also a responsibility that I do not take lightly. The Bible addresses just what that duty entails. Deuteronomy 4:5, 6, 9  says, See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them…. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding… Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

We love our grandchildren; we laugh at them and enjoy their antics; we bake or sew or crochet for them; and as much as we are able, we join in their fun. These things are our joy, but our responsibility before God is to teach them by word and deed. In word—Psalms 145:4 reminds us “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” In deed—Titus 2:3-5 instructs us to be role models: “ Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

grandchildrenThe apostle Paul gives us the example of Lois, a godly grandmother who played an active role in teaching her young grandson Timothy the Scriptures. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also… But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 1:5; 2:14-15) Timothy went on to be a great pastor and evangelist and through his words and deeds countless multitudes came to know the Lord.

Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children…” I do not believe this is speaking of wealth or real estate or even sentimental tokens, but of a spiritual legacy. Let that inheritance be the teaching and example of a godly grandparent; footsteps in which they may follow; a model of faith and faithfulness to look up to. May our godly testimonies be an encouragement to the generations that follow to come to know and love and serve the Lord as we do. What a glorious family reunion then someday in Heaven!

Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged…” I feel like Queen for the Day! So, Happy Birthday, Anastasia and Melissa! I am so very proud of you both, and I thank God that He made me your grandma! You are beautiful blessings to me and I love you!



Intensive Care

I like surprises. Well, most surprises. I don’t like to have surprise visitors when I am still in my pajamas, or when I have a sink full of dirty dishes. I don’t like it when my husband springs a surprise on me like “We need new tires on the car today. No, it can’t wait until next month.” I don’t like receiving surprise doctor bills in the mail or unexpected bad news or to find out the ugly truth about something.

I do like surprise parties; little gifts or flowers from my husband “just because”; the exciting news that somebody’s having a baby! I like to unwrap a gift when I don’t have a clue as to what it can be. I love it when one of my grandchildren amazes me with an awesome talent, compassion, wisdom or spiritual insight beyond their years. I would say my life has had far more of the good surprises than it has of the bad. Praise the Lord.

This week we had a bad—a very bad—surprise out of the blue. And then we had a very good surprise.

Thursday started out to be an ordinary day. We’ve delighted in how well our Robbie has been doing in recent months and that day was no exception. He was enjoying listening to his children’s music on his little DVD player and playing with a couple new little toys I had bought him recently. I spent the day getting ready to go to my sister’s in the evening to work on a birthday party we were planning for my mother and her twin sister. I made supper for Bob and Robbie before I left—smothered burritos, one of their favorites. When I left the house, they were about to take a nap before they had their supper.

Cheree and I enjoyed making our supper together at her house and then spent the next hour or two brainstorming ideas for the party. We always enjoy working on projects together and letting the creative juices flow. It seems our two heads are better than one and we giggle and hoot and holler as we feed off each other’s whacky ideas!

It was about 8:30 when Bob called. Robbie was having bad seizures and he was concerned. It is not unusual for Robbie to have grand mals. It was unusual for Bob to be as worried over it as he seemed to be. After discussing it with me, he said he was giving Robbie 20 mg of Valium to try to stop the seizure. That always seems to work with grand mal seizures for Robbie, but 25 minutes later he called again. Robbie was still seizing and he wondered if he should give him another 10 mg. I hesitated. We had never given him that extra dose before. He finally decided to do it and try to get a hold of Robbie’s doctor. I told him I was on my way home.

I was four or five minutes away when Bob called me again. The doctor on call had finally called him back and told him to get Robbie to the emergency room. Bob called an ambulance—there was no way we could get him in his wheelchair or our car with him seizing like that. I walked in a minute or two before the paramedics and was shocked to see how bad Robbie looked. The EMTs had Robbie whisked away in less than a minute. Bob rode in the ambulance with Robbie while I followed behind in the car.

There were seven or eight people working on Robbie when I got there. It was a frightening scene—even though we have been through this before, and deal with seizures on an everyday basis. Finally, they decided to drug him so deeply and put him on a ventilator so that his brain could stop misfiring and get a rest. It was the only way we could stop the seizures at that point. In the past when Robbie had been in “status” condition before (unstoppable seizures) he had been on a ventilator for weeks and in the hospital for a month at a time.

We were in a state of shock. How could this have happened so suddenly? He has been doing so beautifully in the last few months. We had even seen little miracles along the way—Robbie eating and drinking by mouth after 14 years of being tube-fed; Robbie taking steps, standing and crawling; Robbie using more signs to communicate and shades of the old, mischievous scamp he had once been. Robbie’s back! everyone exclaimed in delight.

We were stunned—unsure of how this could have happened and then wondering what did it mean? Would we be back in the hospital for another month? Would there be more brain damage? Would we be back to square one with the tube feedings and a totally bedridden and drugged up child? He was now in critical condition and in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. All we could do was pray, leaving Robbie in the Lord’s hands, and wait for some answers.

We did not have long to wait. That was the other surprise—the good surprise. By Saturday morning the seizures had stopped completely and they were able to take Robbie off the ventilator. He had developed a bit of pneumonia due to aspirating either when he was seizing or when they intubated him, but it had disappeared from the x-rays by Saturday morning, as well! He was grinning from ear to ear at us and eager to listen to his music on his DVD player and play with his toys. And he was a little feisty, too—a sure sign he was feeling better and on the mend! For him to go from critical to happy, happy, happy in 36 hours was nothing short of an astonishing miracle to us!

As I sat in that intensive care unit, I couldn’t help but think how intense God’s care is of us. When we are frightened, He brings peace. When we are enveloped in worry and stress, He soothes us with His comforting embrace. When we feel helpless and alone, He promises to walk beside us. When we are hurting, He heals our spirits with His love. I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” All we have to do is give our cares to Him and rest in His intensive care.

When I think of God’s loving care I think of Psalm 23. The Lord is my Shepherd, the One who tenderly provides, protects, guides, soothes, saves, comforts, supports, gives joy and mercy and blessing, and finally takes us safely Home. That is intense love and care!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.


Robbie will most likely go home from the hospital today or tomorrow. What a happy surprise to go home so quickly and with a child who is no worse for the experience. We are praising God for His loving care for Robbie—and for us. It is only when we go through the worst in life that we fell the comfort and love and care of the Lord most intensely—and we thank Him for that.

Psalm 23

What It’s Not

Have you ever had a day—or a week—when nothing went right? When Murphy’s Law was in effect and everything that could go wrong, did? I’m sure you have. We all experience times when we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even a natural optimist can begin to wonder when that little rain cloud seems to be just hovering over her head.

Our daughter Laurie and her family have been going through just such a week. It started small on Thursday. One of the kids pulled the curtains—rod and all—down, right out of the wall. No big deal, right? Those things happen with little kids. They were just dealing with that, however, when they found signs that a mouse had visited their couch. Yuck! That was a big deal for Laurie. Mice, rats, tarantulas, scorpions—all manner of nasty critters have invaded their home in Ecuador from time to time and it always freaks them out. Mice carry diseases down there and Laurie feels like she has to disinfect everything when she finds the telltale signs of a mouse in the house.

She was just dealing with that when an even bigger calamity happened. The younger kids had gone outside to play and were calling for their big sister Melissa to come out and play with them. Melissa will be fifteen in a couple weeks and is so good with the little ones and very willing to help with them. She started out the door to join them and somehow slipped on the step—and broke her leg.

Laurie called Fernando home from the Bible study he was having with a young couple to take Melissa to the hospital. They ended up having to go to two different hospitals to finally have their daughter taken care of. They had just walked in the door at home hours later with Melissa in a cast when the baby, Vanessa who is twenty months old, started throwing up and having diarrhea.

It lasted for hours. They were just beginning to think maybe they should take her to the hospital when it finally slowed down and she fell asleep around four in the morning. They worried—Vanessa had been sitting on the couch where they found the mouse droppings. Had she picked up something and put it in her mouth??? She seemed to feel a little better later, however, when she woke up, and although she had a couple more small bouts, by last night she had perked up and it seemed to be over.

Not quite. No sooner was Vanessa finally over it when Matthew and Mandy started in, and poor Melissa in her cast was beginning to feel sick. So much for the question about the mouse poop (thank goodness!)—it seemed to be just an ordinary virus of some sort if it was going through the kids one by one. But that was just the thing—with seven kids and Fernando and Laurie, was it going to hit them all? Laurie was already wading through a growing mountain of laundry and had had to scrub the floors several times when one of the little ones “missed.”

Well, sure enough, I called this morning to see how things were and Melissa, and now Fernando, too, had been up all night sick. Laurie herself is feeling bad and wondering if she is about to succumb. Only Sara, Gabi and Katie are left standing and able to chase Vanessa now that she is well. Of course, Fernando was supposed to teach and preach this morning, but praise the Lord, yesterday one of the men in the church had offered to fill in and was prepared if the need should arise.

I’ve been sitting here at home feeling bad for them all and wishing I could be there to help. They have been through so much lately and I know, because they are serving the Lord there in Ecuador and the ministry is going well, they are targets for the Enemy, Satan. He would like nothing more than for them to be discouraged and weak. As I prayed for the baby—and Laurie—though that first night, the thought came to me to praise God for what it was not. It was not chemotherapy that was making the baby throw up so violently. There was no cancer or some other terrible disease that was making the baby so violently ill. Other parents have seen their children suffer through much worse. In a day or two she was over it.

Praise God Melissa’s broken leg was not a bad one. The first doctor had said she needed surgery and a pin put in it but Laurie and Fernando had seen the x-ray.   They recognized that he was a shyster and took her to the second hospital where they said it was a simple “fissure”, put a cast on it and sent her home. Praise God for healthy children who can run and jump and play. In six weeks Melissa will be back to normal.

Praise God Laurie does not have to take all the dirty sheets and towels and pajamas down to the river bank to wash them as so many of the Indian women do. She has a washer and dryer. Praise God they are not all sick at once. Praise God they are not alone—Ivan volunteered to preach before they even knew that Fernando would be sick.

When we have days or weeks like this, it is easy to become disheartened. It is precisely in times of discouragement and weakness, however, that we should most be praising God! Psalm 42:11 says, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Our hope is in Him. He knows all about it. He is in control and there are His perfect reasons for allowing us to go through these trying times. David the Psalmist said in Psalms 71:14, “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more.” David knew what it meant to go through testing and trials but he said in Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

It is easy to praise God when everything is beautiful and going well; not so easy when it is not. The Bible tells us in I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Paul and Silas praised God in prison! They had been beaten and whipped, thrown into the deepest, darkest cell with their feet in chains—yet “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” (Acts16:25) Not only did they praise God, but they did it loudly so that everyone heard them! What a testimony! In fact they were such a testimony that it ultimately resulted in the salvation of their prison guard and all his household!548481_263860493730592_1010457336_n

When we count our blessings, let us thank and praise Him for the good and the bad; for what has happened and what has not. Did that delay in traffic save us from an accident down the road? Did the financial loss we suffered save us from becoming independent of God? Did the discovery if one physical problem save us from a more serious one up ahead? It is by God’s mercy that we are saved from far more than we will ever know. Praise God for what is not. “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 106:1

Hebrews 13:15 says, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” In everything continually we ought to praise God—for what is and what is not! The next time you count your blessings, don’t forget to thank Him for what it’s not.

                                              Count Your Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, And you will keep singing as the days go by.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small, Do not be disheartened, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

                                         –Johnson Oatman, Jr.–